Here we are in the sixth inning of our varsity softball game and our eighth batter is up to bat. She has one strike and three balls when a wild pitch comes flying at her head at 60 miles per hour.
The softball hits her straight in the head.
Our teammate gladly takes her base, but soon after everyone forgets that she was even hit in the head. About 30 minutes later there are noticeable signs of a concussion. Thankfully our coach knew the signs and made our player sit out the rest of the junior varsity game. But unfortunately, not every coach/athlete recognizes the signs of concussions.
So what is a concussion? A concussion is a traumatic brain injury. According to new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control:
- It is caused by a bump, blow or jolt to the head or body.
- Can change the way your brain normally works.
- Can occur during practice or games in any sport or recreational activity.
- Can happen even if you haven't been knocked out.
- Can be serious even if you've just had "your bell rung."
What are the symptoms of a concussion? According to the CDC, someone with a concussion may experience:
- Headache or pressure in the head.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Balance problems or dizziness.
- Doubled or blurry vision.
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy or groggy.
- Difficulty paying attention.
- Memory problems or confusion.
You can't see a concussion but you might notice one or more of the signs listed above soon after, or even hours later or days later.
Logan Platt, a sophomore at Bonneville High, was charging toward the defender, the only thought in this mind to get the soccer ball. The defender, on the other hand, just wanted to clear the ball but as he did so, it hit Platt in the face.
The player blacked out and fell to the ground. The next day Platt woke up with the signs of a concussion and said he felt "hazy, nothing was sharp and everything felt off."
What should you do if you think you have a concussion? The tips from the CDC include:
- You should never ignore signs of a concussion; make sure to tell your coach or parents right away.
- Get a medical check-up. A doctor or other health care professional can tell if you have a concussion and when it's OK to return to play.
- Give yourself time to get better. If you have a concussion your brain needs time to heal. While your brain is still healing you are more likely to have another concussion.
Repeat concussions can increase the time it takes for you to recover, and may cause more damage to your brain. Its better to miss one game than the whole season!
What can you do to protect yourself from a concussion?
Every sport is different but there are steps you can take to protect yourself.
- Use proper sport equipment including personal protective equipment.
- Follow your coaches' rules of the sport.
- Practice good sportsmanship at all times.
Be aware that multiple concussions can cause long-term effects such as memory loss, emotional distress, depression and increased possibility of suicide attempts.
So no matter how small or big a concussion seems, all concussions need to be taken seriously.
Morgan Pales will be a junior at Fremont High School. She enjoys writing and playing on a travel softball team. Contact her at email@example.com.